By most every metric of any real import, Joe Biden has had a very solid first year as President of the United States. That is of course not to say that there have not been hiccups along the way, some very serious ones – however you would never know seeing today’s media coverage that a bipartisan, historic infrastructure package just passed Congress and was signed into law and thousands of businesses were saved due to quick-thinking measures earlier this year in the midst of the darkest days of the pandemic. Oh, and for the most part vaccine distribution has been equitable and jobs are being created around the country at a historic pace.
So what gives? Why is media coverage completely underwhelming and why is the prevailing narrative emanating from the Beltway between New York and Washington, D.C. that the Democrats will lose the House of Representatives majority that they enjoy currently by a substantial margin. There is no clear or concise answer, but it is a phenomenon that we have seen before where Democrats and analysts speak their worst fears into existence, as an existential dread has swept over the party since Donald Trump won the presidency in 2016.
For so long, the Democratic strategists believed that they knew what they were fighting for, and what they were up against from the other side. These days, it is increasingly clear that not only do they not have a unified message between progressives and moderates, Democrats routinely and erroneously underestimate the Republican Party. For all of the savvy that Democrats believe that they have – thinking that because more youthful voters trend Democratic and therefore their social media and grassroots campaigns will automatically go better – the party is tragically misguided.
Democrats are getting a lot of things done but their messaging has been wanting. One way that Dems will see tangible results at the polls is if they can figure out a way to bridge the divide between urban and rural communities. One does this by not coming from an urban setting and speaking condescendingly to people who have life experiences, education levels, and beliefs that vary from your own. Many rural GOP voters who might have voted for Democrats in the past feel that the party no longer knows how to ‘speak’ to them. If a party fails in terms of connecting with voters, quite literally the reason for their existence, then, yes, swift defeats like the numerous down-ballot seats that were lost on Long Island, where the GOP flushed out the Democrats will become more commonplace.